Abusing Our Ligaments

ligaments

Muscles and bones are my meat and potatoes but the picture in today’s post shows how particular ligaments are chronically stressed due to poor postural patterns. Almost everyone I work with suffers from this problem.

The two most commons postural misalignments I encounter in the lower body are a tucked pelvis that forces the thigh bones forward of the hip sockets, and hyperextended knees that take the shins behind the right angle that they are meant to form with the feet.

If we stand correctly the bones should all stack on top of each other. This allows the ligaments to simply connect the bones as designed. If the bones don’t stack well the ligaments will be pulled out of line to the same degree as the bones and will likely start to stretch beyond their desired limit. Good posture depends on ligaments that don’t stretch.

The left side of the picture shows that if you are tucking your pelvis and forcing your thighs forward you will be putting too much strain on the iliofemoral ligaments that connect the femur to the hip. I see this in all of my clients and yoga students, with very few exceptions. What this means is no one has a happy iliofemoral ligament; it is stretched in a way that is not meant to be.

What we see on the right side of the picture is a hyperextended knee that strains the posterior cruciate ligament though all of the ligaments of the knee capsule will be affected. Even people who can’t hyperextend their knee in a literal sense are often pushing backwards against these ligaments.

These ligaments are easy to abuse because developing good posture is something we need to work on and it is easier to just sink into the habitual patterns that occur unconsciously. Chronically tucking the pelvis and hyperextending the knees literally abuses our ligaments all day long and over a lifetime this type of abuse will come back to haunt you.

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